UpFront NZ’s regulation blues

Globally, the big worry for most companies is competition. In New Zealand it is government regulation.
That’s one of the findings from the International Business Owners Survey (IBOS) carried out by chartered accountants and business advisers Grant Thornton in which New Zealand was included for the first time.
When it came to identifying the “most significant threat” to business, 21 percent of Kiwi respondents cited government regulation – more than any other country surveyed. It just headed off Pakistan (20 percent) which interestingly gave regulation the same threat rating as war and terrorism.
Asked separately about business constraints, 45 percent of our businesses put “red tape/regulations” top of their list, which was higher than the global average (37 percent) but well below Poland (76 percent) where it’s been regarded as major impediment for years.
In more positive vein, New Zealand topped the global table in terms of employment changes – its 37 percent increase well above the global average of eight percent, though in terms of future employment expectations, it came in just little above the average with 31 percent positive rating.
We also apparently lead the world in looking to new technology as means of improving business. Given 10 categories to choose from Kiwi companies plumped solidly (91 percent) for investing in new technology, systems and procedures. This endorses the view that we are enthusiastic early adopters, says Peter Sherwin, chairman of Grant Thornton NZ.
The most favoured technique globally remains cost reduction, followed by improving cost management and investing in new technology.
Surprisingly, New Zealand was found to have fewer exporters than the global average and didn’t rank highly in terms of businesses whose exports account for more than quarter of their turnover. Another bad mark for our global competitiveness is bottom ranking when it comes to businesses that have the ability to negotiate in more than one language. Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece and Sweden topped the second-language stakes.
The survey focused on 6900 independent, entrepreneurial companies in 26 countries.

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